John Pearson, photographer, has been such a good friend for over thirty years. We first met when his new girlfriend, Liz Lamson, insisted they attend a Music from Marlboro concert at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on the Stanford University campus on a Sunday afternoon in the early 70s. The concert included (I think) Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” and/ or Messiaen’s “Quatour pour le fin du temp.” At the end of the concert I was in a narrow backstage dressing room when suddenly in burst this big teddy bear of a guy full of enthusiasm and effusively coloring his concert experience in slightly psychedelic images of my clarinet as a flight of birds, rainbows, sparkling streams, etc. Not having the vaguest idea who this babbling fellow might be, and wary of fringe contingents of leftover 60s flower children, I somewhat superficially accepted his praise while calculating my nearest route to the hallway. But then he went on to explain that his passion for the music was so gaily wrapped in such vivid images because he was a professional photographer and indeed music had this overwhelming magical effect on him. Well, we ultimately exchanged addresses, his in Berkeley, mine in Los Angeles, and I assumed that would be the end of that.
Little did I know that this star-crossed meeting would lead to concerts of improvisations of music and images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to Tokyo and hundreds of halls, charmed audiences and vibrant collaboration in between. And not only that. John Pearson became a role model for me of the free spirit. He brought me together with the beautiful human beings with whom I never have had the good fortune to be connected. Susan Boulet, the Brazilian artist, Anais Nin, poet and author and diarist, Tom Robbins, novelist, Jaren Dahlstrom, designer and artist, so many good, kind, loving and vitally alive people who recharged my artistic batteries over and over again.
Excerpted from ANOTHER NAME FOR GOD, copyright Richard Stoltzman